Braised Chicken with Chestnut 板栗焖鸡

If you always like to try making new dishes, you will soon realised that your pantry is filled with many ingredients that you had probably only used once or twice. Then, taking a look at the expiry date and with a cold sweat, you notice that it is approaching the end of its lifetime! Next, you will either put it back and let it rot on its own, or quickly sift through your recipe books to find a way to finish them up real quick!

This is happening to me now, having some leftover roasted chestnut from making dumpling (my last minute decision that left me with no more dried chestnut), I decided to add them to my braised chicken instead. Afterall, we seldom snack on chestnut and good food shouldn't go waste.

Braised Chicken with Chestnut 板栗焖鸡

I am surprised at how it turned up. This simple dish is amazingly delicious and easy to make. It was a hit in my family and even my girl who usually couldn't finish the meat in her bowl requested for double portion of this chicken! Try this and I hope you will enjoy it too!

Braised Chicken with Chestnut


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 shallot, sliced
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 1/2 chicken
  • 60g chestnut (I used roasted chestnut)
  • 1 carrot
  • 8 shitake mushroom
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Shao Xing Wine / cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp ABC Kicap Manis
  • 1/8 tsp 5-spice powder
  • 1 cup water
Cooking Directions
  1. In a frying pan, heat up oil and stir fry garlic, shallot and ginger until fragrant.
  2. Add in ingredients B and stir fry for a minute (if using roasted chestnut, you may add in later).
  3. Add in ingredients C and stir fry for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add water and cook until the sauce thicken.
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  • 2大匙油
  • 5瓣大蒜,切碎
  • 5青葱,切片
  • 5片姜
  • 1/2只鸡
  • 60克板栗 (我用包装烤过的板栗)
  • 1条胡萝卜
  • 8个香菇
  • 蚝油1汤匙
  • 2汤匙酱油
  • 2汤匙绍兴酒/料酒
  • 2汤匙ABC甜酱
  • 1/8茶匙五香粉
  • 1杯水
  1. 取一个锅,烧热油,爆香大蒜,葱和姜。
  2. 加入材料B翻炒一分钟 (如果使用烤过的板栗,可以在最后的步骤才加入)。
  3. 再添加配料C,翻炒3-5分钟。
  4. 加水,煮至汁浓绸。

Dragon Boat Festival, or Duan Wu Festival is to commemorate the death of the scholar Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan once served as high officer but was later banished and accused of treason. Subsequently, he commited suicide and drowned in the Miluo river.

At that time, people who admired and respected him raced out in their boats, with the hope to save him or at least retrieve his body. When they failed to do so, they decided to drop wrapped sticky rice into the river, hoping that the fishes would feed on the sticky rice instead and leave his body alone. And this, is how the dumpling (zongzi) came about.

I was too late shopping for ingredients to make bak chang, bamboo leaves - sold out, dumpling string sold out, dried chestnut - sold out! Good thing that I still kept some supply from last year, but for the chestnut I simply made do with some roasted chestnut.

Making dumpling is by no mean feat. It requires more than a day work - starting from washing and soaking bamboo leaves the night before, until the wrapping of dumpling the next day. It calls for patience, and of course, lots of love especially when you are thinking about those people whom you are making these dumplings for.

"So much work, why don't you just buy it?" you may ask. Well... I guess because I am enjoying it! It is a fun and satisfying experience. It is also a skill, passing down from generation to generation that I am holding on to; a skill, that I would like to pass on to my children in the future too!

Bak Chang
Make 10-12 dumplings
  • 24-30 bamboo leaves (check that the leaves are unbroken/without holes)
  • 24-30 dumpling strings
  • 500 g glutinous rice, washed and soaked for 3 hours
Glutinous Rice Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper
Meat and Mushroom Filling
  • 2 heaping tablespoon ebi/ dried shrimp
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 250g pork belly, sliced
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder
  • 2 tbsp ABC kecap manis
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 12 mushroom, soaked
  • 3 tbsp fried shallot (made from 3 fresh shallots)
Green bean filling (optional)
  • 70g split beans, washed, soaked 1 hrs and drained
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 lup cheong, sliced
  • 10-12 chestnuts
  • 3 salted egg, quartered
Cooking Directions
  1. The night before: Wash and soak bamboo leaves and dumpling string overnight. Weigh the leaves down with something heavy.
  2. Place the bamboo leaves in a big pot and fill up water to cover the leaves. Bring the water to boil. Remove and set aside the leaves.
  3. Drain glutinous rice. Add in glutinous rice seasoning and mix well.
  4. Meat and mushroom filling: In a pan, heat up some oil, stir fry ebi and garlic until fragrant, add in the the rest of the ingredients and cook until the sauce thicken.
  5. Green bean filling: Steam split beans for 15 minutes, mash and add in salt and sugar.
  6. Secure the bamboo string on a pole or bar (if none of it available, get a helper to hold it while you tying your dumpling)
  7. Put 2 bamboo leaves together, fold the leaves as shown.
  8. Spoon in glutinous rice and spread it on the leaves as shown (cover the side of the leaves as much as possible).
  9. Add in the filling and top with glutinous rice, cover completely and fold the leaves as shown.

  10. Wrap and tie dumplings (have to be tight so that the leaves won't open up during process of cooking.
  11. Boil a pot of water enough to cover all dumplings. When the water is boiling, add in the dumplings and cook for 2 hours (or equivalent of 2 hours using your pressure cooker - I cooked 20 minutes on 2nd orange line for WMF pressure cooker).
  12. Remove dumplings from the water. Leave till cool by hanging it. Place a bowl/plate below as there will be dripping water.
  13. For storing, keep in the fridge for several days or freeze it and it can be kept for a month.
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Nyonya Laksa / Singapore Laksa 娘惹叻沙/新加坡叻沙

Making laksa at home can be very easy, just get the package paste and add liao (ingredients), then ta dah... you got a bowl of delicious piping hot laksa to enjoy! 

In fact, that is what we usually do, but not today. Today, we decided to take on the challenge to make it from scratch!

Nyonya Laksa / Singapore Laksa 娘惹叻沙/新加坡叻沙

I am surprise that it is actually not difficult to make your own laksa. But I do admit that we made the spice paste in advance and stir fried it until fragrant in order to save some time on the actual cooking day. Even better if you could make more and store in freezer for future use! Laksa paste can come in handy in many dishes.

Aren't we all love freezer, it makes our life much easier!

Nyonya Laksa
serves 3-4


  • 350g prawn, cook the shell in 950ml water for soup base (or cook in 700ml water and add 250ml chicken broth) and blanch the prawn
  • 60g oil
B. Spice paste
  • 1/2 inch fresh or 1/4 tsp powdered turmeric
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 10 dried chilli (this is quite mild, add more if you prefer spicier)
  • 4 buah keras
  • 1/2 tbsp belacan
  • 60g / 5 shallots
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 50g ebi, washed and stir fried
  • 1 lemongrass, bruised
  • 130g thick coconut milk / 200ml fresh coconut milk
  •  bouillon cube (optional)
  • tau pok
  • fish cake, fried and sliced
  •  1.5 tsp salt
  •  1 tbsp sugar
  •  400g noodle/ thick bee hoon, cooked as per instruction on package
  • egg, hard boiled and halved
  •  bean sprout, blanched
  • laksa leaves, chopped
Cooking Directions
  1. Blend together B.
  2. In a pan, heat oil. Add in B and C, stir fry until fragrant and add into prawn soup base.
  3. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add in D and bring to boil.
  5. Add in E and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and sugar.
  7. Place cooked noodle at the bottom of bowl, ladle soup over and serve with egg, bean sprout and laksa leaves.
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  • 350克虾,虾壳用959ml水煮成汤底(或700ml水加上250ml鸡汤),虾用水煮熟
  • 60克油
  • 1/2寸新鲜黄姜或1/4茶匙黄姜粉
  • 1寸高良姜
  • 8条辣椒干
  • 4粒榛子
  • 1/2汤匙马来栈
  • 60克/5粒葱头
  • 1茶匙芫荽粉
  • 3粒蒜头
  • 50克虾米,洗净,炒香
  • 1香茅,压扁
  • 130克浓椰浆/200ml新鲜椰浆
  • 鸡精块(选择性)
  •  豆干
  •  鱼饼,切片
  •  1.5茶匙盐
  •  1 汤匙糖
  •  400克面/粗米粉,按照包装指示煮熟
  •  鸡蛋,煮熟和切半
  •  豆芽,烫过水
  •  叻沙叶,切碎
  1. 将材料B混合在一起.
  2. 取一个锅,热油。加入B和C,翻炒爆香,加入虾汤。
  3. 煮30分钟。
  4. 加入D,煮滚。
  5. 加入E再煮5分钟。
  6. 加入盐和糖。
  7. 将煮熟的面条放在碗里,舀入汤,配上鸡蛋,豆芽和叻沙叶。
Chocolate Magic Cake 巧克力魔术蛋糕

What is it so magical about this cake? Have you noticed that there are in total 3 distinct layers of the cake? The top most layer is the chocolate ganache, and the bottom 2 layers are made with single batter!

Still not special enough? Well, that batter, was made with only 2 ingredients!

Taste and texture-wise, the bottom most layer taste just like Nutella custard pudding, while the middle layer is more cake-like. This is simply the easiest yet the most sophisticated looking cake that I had ever made. The guest will be impressed and wondering what kind of special skill required to achieve that beautiful layers!

Get ready to impress your guest!

2-Ingredients Magic Nutella Cake
Make 6-inch cake


  • 200g Nutella
  • 4 eggs
  • 4.5g (1/2 tbsp) gelatine powder
  • 15g (1 tbsp) water
  • 100g whipping cream
  • 60g semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Beat eggs until thick and ribbon stage.
  2. Take 1/3 of egg and mix well with Nutella.
  3. Pour the Nutella mixture into egg and fold gently until combined.
  4. Bake in preheated oven at 150C for 20 minutes thereafter 130C for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Bloom gelatine in water for 30 minutes.
  6. With gentle heat, melt chocolate chips with whipping cream. Add gelatine water and stir until slightly thicken. Turn off heat and let cool.
  7. Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake and refrigerate until the ganache is set before slicing.
Tips: Batter is very liquid, need to wrap the bottom of the mould to prevent leaking if springform pan is used.

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  • 200克Nutella 酱
  • 4个鸡蛋

  • 4.5克(1/2汤匙)鱼胶粉
  • 15克(1汤匙)水
  • 100克鲜奶油
  • 60克半甜巧克力豆

  1. 蛋打到浓稠。
  2. 取1/3鸡蛋糊和Nutella 拌匀。
  3. 将拌匀好的Nutella 糊倒入鸡蛋糊,轻手拌匀。
  4. 在已预热烤箱以150℃烤20分钟,然后再以130℃烤20-25分钟。
  5. 鱼胶粉和水掺在一起,置放30分钟。
  6. 用文火,融化巧克力豆和奶油。加入鱼胶粉水,搅拌至略浓稠。关火,放凉。
  7. 巧克力淋酱倒在蛋糕上,冷藏,直到淋酱凝固。
My Best Tiramisu 提拉米苏

Literally translated to 'pick me up' or 'lift me up', tiramisu is an all-time favorite dessert you can find in almost any cake shop. It is made with alternate layers of sponge fingers and creamy sabayon. The sponge fingers are dipped in a mixture of coffee and liquor, rendering a bitter taste that balance out the sweet sabayon.

I used to make super simple version of tiramisu. Mixer is not required, and it is a breeze to whip up those little gems. However, I couldn't help but felt that certain taste is missing, or lacking. Remember those killer tiramisu that you had in Italian restaurant? Those tiramisu are simply not quite there yet. 

This recipe, however, requires more work, more bowls to wash, you may also need to use the mixer twice. Since the egg yolks are not fully cooked, I even took the effort to find pasteurized egg. The results? Totally worth it! I don't think I will be going back to the easy version of tiramisu any time soon. 

What to do with those egg whites, you may ask. Well, try this baking powder free coffee butter cake, risen only by the air incorporated into the whipped egg white. It will get rid of your 5 egg whites in one go!

My Best Tiramisu
Make 9 inch square cake


Sabayon/ Mascarpone mixture
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 150g sugar
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 200ml whipping cream
Coffee Mixture (for dipping)
  • 1 cup espresso
  • 1/2 cup coffee liquor
  • 2 pack of 7 oz sponge fingers
  • cocoa powder, for dusting
Cooking Directions
  1. In a pan combine egg yolks and sugar, stir and cook over low heat until 71C (if you are concern about Salmonella) or until the sugar dissolved, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove egg yolks from heat, whip until thick and light in color.
  3. Add Mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat over low speed until combined.
  4. In another bowl, whip whipping cream until stiff.
  5. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture and set aside.
  6. In another bowl, mix the cold espresso with the coffee liquor. 
  7. Dip sponge fingers into the coffee mixture and arrange them on a container.
  8. Dust with some cocoa powder.
  9. Spoon half of the mascarpone cream over the sponge fingers. Spread the cream evenly.
  10. Repeat process 7-9.
  11. Dust with some cocoa powder.
  12. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving.

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  • 5颗蛋黄
  • 150克糖
  • 250克马斯卡
  • 200毫升奶油

  • 1杯咖啡
  • 1/2杯咖啡酒

  • 2包7盎司手指饼干
  • 可可粉,适量

  1. 取平底锅,加入蛋黄和糖,用小火煮直到71C,或直到糖溶解,大约10分钟,不断搅拌。
  2. 熄火,将蛋黄糊打到颜色变浅。
  3. 加入马斯卡,低速打到混合。
  4. 在另一个碗里,把奶油打发。
  5. 奶油以切拌式加入马斯卡混合物,待用。
  6. 在另一个碗里,拌匀冷咖啡与咖啡酒。
  7. 手指饼干沾上咖啡混合物,排在容器里。
  8. 撒上一些可可粉。
  9. 勺入一半的马斯卡霜。铺平。
  10. 重复过程7-9。
  11. 撒上一些可可粉。
  12. 冷藏至少四个小。

What is the best thing to do on a rainy afternoon? Sleeping? Reading? Watching movie? For me, all of the above, plus baking some coffee cake / bread!

Coffee cake, coffee swiss roll, coffee bread, those are all my favourites. The aroma of coffee baking in the oven is almost intoxicating, by just smelling it I am feeling more alert instantly!

This butter cake, risen only by the air beaten into egg whites, is free of baking powder or any other rising agent. It is a convenient recipe to help you clear up whatever egg whites you have leftover from either making tiramisu or layer cakes. Another excuse to make more cakes, huh!

Coffee Butter Cake (Egg White Only)

  • 130g butter
  • 80g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 160g cake flour
  • 125g evaporated milk (or 100ml water + 38g milk powder)
B. Meringue
  • 5 egg white
  • 40g sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp instant coffee powder mix with 1 tbsp hot water (or add in directly if you prefer to see the coffee granules)
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, add in vanilla essence.
  2. Add in cake flour and evaporated milk alternately. Beat until well combined before each addition.
  3. In separate bowl, beat egg white with sugar until soft peak (put in sugar in 3 additions).
  4. Take 1/3 of the meringue and add into the butter mixture. Mix until well combine.
  5. Pour all butter mixture into meringue, fold to mix gently.
  6. Take 1/3 of the batter and mix with coffee powder.
  7. Spoon in the original batter and coffee batter into baking dish alternately, make some swirl with a spoon or chopstick.
  8. Bake at preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.
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  • 130克牛油
  • 80克糖
  • 1茶匙香草精
  • 160克蛋糕粉
  • 125克淡奶
  • 5粒蛋清
  • 40克糖
  • 1-2汤匙速溶咖啡粉拌入1汤匙热水(如果你喜欢看到咖啡颗粒就不用加水了)
  1. 牛油和糖,打至蓬松泛白,加入香草精华。
  2. 蛋糕粉和淡奶交替加入。搅打至充分结合。
  3. 取另一个碗,把蛋清与糖打至湿性发泡(糖分三次加入)。
  4. 取1/3蛋白霜,加入牛油糊。充分混合起来。
  5. 将全部牛油糊倒入蛋白霜,用切拌方式混合。
  6. 取面糊的1/3和咖啡粉混合。
  7. 原味面糊和咖啡面糊交替倒入烤盘中,最后再用勺子或筷子画圈圈。
  8. 在已经预热烤箱中以170℃烤30分钟。
Flour Frosting

Flour in the frosting? Albeit sounds weird and unappetizing, this frosting had received raving reviews from many baking enthusiasts. In my quest to look for a perfect frosting, I decided to try this for myself. A taste of the real frosting worth more than reading a thousand reviews, right? 

The result? If you had tried buttercream before, you will find this less oily than buttercream, maybe because of the addition of the flour mixture. It is easy to handle, hold up well and can be piped with ease, suitable for cupcake topping. If you are planning to use this for cake, I am not confident that it can be leveled off easily for a smooth looking surface, as it gets a little, just a little, lumpy. However, I am sure it will work as a filling just well. 

I love buttercream, and I love this even more because it is less oily. This recipe is a keeper! 

Flour Frosting
make 6 cupcakes

  • 2.5 tbsp flour
  • 120g milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 110g butter
  • 100g sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat up flour and milk for around 6 minutes, stir constantly. Let cool (not in fridge).
  2. Add vanilla essence to flour mixture. Set aside.
  3. Whip butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add A and whip for another 45 seconds.
  4. Set aside in fridge for at least 3 hours.
  5. Take out the frosting from fridge 30 minutes before using. If it is not smooth, whip lightly again until smooth.
Tips: The purpose of refrigerating for 3 hours is for the sugar to dissolve in the frosting, preventing gritty texture. 

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  • 2.5汤匙面粉
  • 120克鲜奶
  • 1/2茶匙香草精
  • 110克牛油
  • 100克糖

  1. 面粉和牛奶加热约6分钟,不断搅拌。放凉。
  2. 加入香草精华。
  3. 牛油和糖打到轻和蓬松,然后加入面粉糊再打45秒。
  4. 放入冰箱冷藏至少3小时。
  5. 使用前30 分钟丛冰箱取出,如果不够顺滑,再轻轻搅打,直到顺滑。

Children are often intrigued by this sweet treat. To be able to peel off the colorful kueh layer by layer, and enjoy every single soft chewy bites are simply magical to little children.

As we grew up, we tend to get a little impatient and just want to finish off the kueh in a few bites, a different sense of satisfaction I guess.

The 9 layer kueh sold outside are usually very colorful. Making these for my little ones, I insisted not to use any artificial coloring. Instead, I used red yeast powder. As you can see from the picture, there are some red dots in the pink color layer, it is not easy to dissolve it fully but it doesn't affect the texture at all. We even thought our kueh looked rather artistic!

I had tried many recipes with different liquid content. This is the one that I am most satisfied with. We are a family of small-eaters, hence our kueh always lasted a few days. This recipe produce kueh soft enough that it doesn't turn hard and dry even after few days in the fridge. 

9 Layer Kueh

  • 100g tapioca flour
  • 35g rice flour
  • 130ml thick coconut milk
  • 230ml water (warm)
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 tsp red yeast powder
Cooking Directions

  1. Mix sugar and water, stir to dissolve.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except red yeast powder)
  3. Divide the mixture to 2 (or more if you want to make more color), add in red yeast powder to one portion.
  4. Oil a mould, steam the mould for a few minutes.
  5. Pour a ladle of mixture into the mould, steam for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Repeat step 5, alternating different color.
  7. Steam the last layer for 12 minutes.
  1. Keep in the fridge for at least 3 hours before slicing.
  2. Stir mixture each time before ladling into the mould to prevent the flour from precipitating at the bottom of the bowl.
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  • 100克木薯粉
  • 35克米粉
  • 130毫升浓椰浆
  • 230毫升水(温的)
  • 100克糖
  • 1茶匙红曲粉

  1. 混合糖和水,搅拌溶解。
  2. 加入其余材料(除了红曲粉)
  3. 面糊分成两份(想要做多少颜色就分成多少份),将红曲粉添加到其中一个部分。
  4. 将模具抹油,放入蒸笼蒸几分钟。
  5. 倒一舀面糊入模具,蒸3-4分钟。
  6. 重复步骤5,交替不同的颜色。
  7. 最后一层蒸12分钟。

  • 收在冰箱至少3小时才切片。
  • 面糊舀入模具前要搅拌均匀,以防止粉沉淀在碗底。

his post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up ~ October 2015
Event Theme : Coconut

and hosted by Jess of Bakericious
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